Tonight the Sabres visit the fourth place Philadelphia Flyers. The Sabre continue the negative slide away from the playoffs, the loss to Ottawa and not getting help from the out of town score board recently finds our beloved Sabres in 10th place, but just three points out of the 7-9 playoff spots, 4 points back from the 5-6 spots, and seven points behind the Flyers. The Sabres could get hot at any time and jump right back up into the mix of things.
The Sabres really don’t have to pay too much attention to the teams trailing them, as the closest team is Toronto, and they are eight points behind. With plenty of time in the season however, a Sabres skid could find them lower than the hapless Leafs.
The Ottawa game has been the only blight on the Sabres recently, despite going 2-2-1 in their last five. In those five games, Lalime was solid in all but the Ottawa game. If the Sabres offense can continue to find its way, and Lalime returns to the net strong again, they can reasonably make a solid push into the top eight again. Derek Roy has eight points in his last eight games, and Tim Connolly is playing much more confidently knowing his future is secure in Buffalo for at least two more years.
The Sabres penalty kill has also recieved a boost, since the return on Hank Tallinder to the blue line, the Sabres have killed off an impressive 29 of 32 penalties.
The Flyers are entering into tonights contest with a rash of injuries, probably the most significant is the fact that Danny Briere is still out of the lineup. The Flyers don’t have much to worry about offensively though, as they have six players who have scored 20 or more goals, compared to Buffalo’s two. The Sabres need to focus on Mike Richards tonight, as he has 15 points in his last ten games.